The booking of the Nano, the Rs 100,000-people's car from the Tata stable, will begin on April 9 and remain open till April 23.
Announcing this ahead of its launch on Monday, Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata told editors that the car, which would have the smallest footprint on the road, will be sold to the first 100,000 buyers at a price to be announced later.
The promise that has been made to sell the car at around Rs 100,000 would be kept despite the fact that commodity prices had shot up, Tata said, adding that the fall in commodity prices now may provide some cushion.
The delivery of the first lot of Nano cars will begin in early-July, he said, adding that applications for booking of the car would be available in 30,000 locations in 1,000 cities across India.
State Bank of India would be the qualified banker for collection of bookings in 850 cities, he said.
The car can be booked by just paying Rs 2,999 upfront while the rest can be secured by way of loan, he said. There would be 15 preferred financiers for the booking whose names would be disclosed in three days.
The initial 50,000-60,000 Nano cars is to be supplied from its Pantnagar plant primarily set up to manufacture Ace trucks, Tata said, adding that the plant to manufacture the Nano at Sanand (Gujarat) is likely to go on-stream by end-this year or early next year.
The first 100,000 customers will be selected by draw of lots from the bookings, he said, adding that those not allotted would have the option to retain their bookings.
The customers who wait for more than one-year will be paid 8.5 per cent interest and those beyond two-years will be paid 8.75 per cent, Tata Motors' managing director, Ravi Kant, said.
No interest would be given to the first 100,000 allotments, Ravi Kant said, adding that the company expects to supply the cars to the first lot in a year's time.
Tata made it clear that Nano production at Pantnagar was, however, an interim solution after the company was forced to shift its production from Singur in West Bengal to Sanand.
"Personally, to say the least, I feel very excited that we were able to go to the last mile to implement Plan B and launch the vehicle in March this year instead of December (this year) or January (next year)," Tata said.
Tata said that all preferred financiers would roll-out their booking schemes within three days.
The rate of interest on the loan would be decided by the banks that provide the loans, Ravi Kant said, adding that several banks would be providing loans including public sector banks.
The Sanand plant would have a capacity of 2,50,000 units per annum which could later be expanded to half-a-million, Tata said.
The model would meet BS II, III and IV norms which are equivalent to Euro II, III and IV norms, Tata said.
The four-and-a-half metre car will be emitting less carbon than even two-wheelers and hence, Tata did not subscribe to the view that it would aggravate pollution.
The 624 cc car would initially be available in three variants and can seat four persons comfortably and has the highest mileage of 26.6-kilometre per litre.
The snub-nosed vehicle will be available in one standard and two deluxe versions including A/c and power windows.
Tata said that he plans to export an upgraded version of the Nano to eastern and western Europe, the UK and possibly, the United States as well.
Exports to Europe would begin sometime in 2011 as the car has to meet certain requirements, he said.
'It is more of validation rather than re-designing' as some safety norms particularly in the rear were to be met, he said.
He also made it clear that there is no upper limit for the number of bookings.
Asked what could be the demand for the car, Tata said that the demand for two-wheelers was in the range of 6-7-million units and he expected demand for the Nano to be around 1-million.
Asked if the company would be expanding the production capacity beyond half-a-million by adding capacity in different locations, Tata said that if the demand was positive as expected, then the company would look at it.
The company had originally planned to set up assembly units at various places with quality controls in place so as to make the car available at an affordable price.